march 2012 newsletter

on the 20th, spring will be arriving this month at long last, tho it feels to me like we skipped.  don’t forget to spring forward saturday night, march 10th for daylight savings time.  aaahhhhh it will be so refreshing to have daylight later in the evening.

i’m feel like a ‘real store’ now — february’s official regular hours started off nicely.  my very first customer was none other than newcomer toni (whom i call OT for other toni).  thanks toni for being my first official ‘regular-hours’ customer!  she has since stopped by and brought two friends and dropped off many patterns to donate to the shop and share with you.  and as luck would have it, ali mock picked toni’s name out of the hat to win the raffle prize for this month (the wild woolies coffee mug)!
i’m still toying with regular hours and since fridays seemed to work ok, i will continue to be open fridays in march from 10:00 to 6:00. if anyone needs me later than that, please just let me know.
FELTED SHEEP!  this is a good chance to learn short row shaping (wrap and turn), reading a pattern, several different increase and decrease methods, as well as getting some experience in knitting animals.  there are loads of patterns out there for all types of critters.  my original method for making them curly was to painstakingly needlefelt each curl individually but i am toying with the idea of thrumming the curls, thus not felting the sheep.  so final plans for this class will be made as soon as i give this other method a go.   an additional email will be forthcoming in the next week or so with the dates, times, materials needed, costs, etc.
Other classes that are rattling around in my brain include a class for making a silk scarf or shawl where you needle felt your own design; life is a bowl of cherries; and amazing stitches (bumps, bobbles, beads & more).
wonderful yarn, creations, and laughs are not all you will find at RaggZ & FriendZ.  on feb 7, donna brought her two puppies, proving you CAN indeed knit and hold two puppies at the same time; and on the 29th, our 3 day old lamb joined us at the shop.  check out the pictures on the blog if i can figure out how to get them on there…
foot operated digital counters from meidel enterprises.  a convenient way to count your rows without fumbling with the round plastic counters and without having to set your knitting aside!  this is a RaggZ & FriendZ exclusive so stop by to check them out!  i have one and used it on my felted sheep sample and i just love it.
donna’s fabric bags:  our own donna chianese has brought several of her hand sewn bags to offer for sale.  they are adorable and will be useful as a purse or knitting tote.  check them out in the giftshop in the kitchen.
the new JUL handles have arrived, including many for the crossover style bags.  JUL has outdone herself again with the new colors and styles.  also check out the purse latches and conchos for wonderful purse accents and embellishments from tandy.
crystal palace has a new yarn just out this year called cuddles. it has finally arrived along with a few new yarns such as panda silk DK weight, bamboozle, puffin, moonshine, and cotton chenille.  purl’n gurl paula is the first to try the cotton chenille and i knitted up a shawl with the cuddles and it is indeed cuddly!
cascade:  i am introducing six colors of a new yarn called pastaza which is 50% llama and 50% wool.  i also received six shades of cascade 220 quatro, which is a monochromatic variegated mixture and the colors i received will make you want to knit something for spring and summer — butterscotch, creme brûlée, chili pepper, moon dance, summer daze, and green tea.
still in the new category are needles from hiya hiya including some 0 and 1’s in the 16″ size for socks (an alternative to dpns), knitters safety pins, locking stitch markers, point protectors, and other sizes of fixed circulars.
the pittsburgh knit and crochet show in mars was in a word OVERWHELMING!  six of us rode together and were caught often with our mouths open in awe.  yarn like we had never seen the likes of.  it was really a fun day and we ran into several other friends there.  we were happy that we chose friday with the weather turning so cold and snowy the next day.  i can’t wait to get started using some of my new yarns but they are so outrageous and funky i’m not quite sure what to do with them!  much of these unique and wonderfully-unusual yarns were made by a company called ‘pagewood farms’, whom i have already contacted and placed an order! so pay attention – it will be arriving in the next couple of weeks.
March 8 (th) 12:30 purl’n gurls latrobe coffee bean
march 8 (th) 1:00 dolly llama’s at ardis’ home
march 13(tues) knitters anonymous  1:00
march 22 (th) 12:30 purl’n gurls latrobe coffee bean
march 27 (tues knitters anonymous  1:00
so what else is new you ask??  the birthday club!!  when you come to the shop, sign our birthday sheet and on your birthday you will receive a $5 gift certificate from RaggZ and FriendZ to be used on whatever your heart desires! you must sign up in person at the store then be here to pick up your certificate.  i have decided that those of you who come to the shop and perhaps had their birthdays in january and february can receive their retro-active certificate.
what do you think about a road trip in may?  the first weekend (i believe the 5th and 6th) is the maryland sheep and wool festival, which is a lot of fun.  lets give that some thought.  
i have been reading a new book i just bought at joann’s called ‘knitting america – a glorious heritage from warm socks to high art”.  stories of hand knitting in america from colonial times onward.  women knit through the hardships of covered wagon travel across the west.  they knit to save their husbands and sons from freezing to death on battlefields.  shell-shocked men knit to save their sanity in hospitals during both world wars.  some wartime poster included in the book says ‘remember pearl harbor… PURL HARDER’ and from the american red cross ‘our boys need sox – knit your bit’.  A poem entitled ‘knitting’ written by juliana steible which appeared in the november 1935 issue of needlecraft goes:
i darn, i sew, keep house and go
in every kind of weather.
i like to cook or read a book
bound in paper, cloth, or leather.
although i’ve tried to put aside
this hobby so bewitching,
to hear the click of needles quick
sets my fingers fairly itching!
take a look at this book some time when you are visiting the shop.  it is not available for lending as of yet.
toodles and happy knitting!
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